Rishi Bhandari and Heather are no different from any other couple you might bump into in New York City. Eager to start their married life, they were on the lookout for a place they could call home. They went through the usual drill of getting in touch with real estate agents, looking at several apartments, liking some, dismissing the others, and always keeping their eyes open for something better.
And then, they came to 110 Livingston Street in Brooklyn. This building had served as headquarters for the Board of Education for many years, but it was being converted into condominiums by Two Trees Management. The price was reasonable – $795,000, for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom accommodation and the neighborhood wasn’t bad either. It looked like Rishi and Heather were finally going to get a place to start their new life together.
However, there was one tiny snag. Just before they were set to close on the apartment, Rishi noticed that its size was smaller than what was mentioned on papers. To confirm his suspicion, he went to work with a measuring tape and discovered that he was, in fact, right. It looked like Two Trees Management was trying to cheat him out of 109 square feet of living space.
Enraged by, what Rishi calls, a fraud on part of the developers, he demanded a reduced price based on the difference in size, which, according to an appraiser worked out to $111,000. The developer turned down the offer flat on its face. Instead, they offered to return the couple’s 10% deposit along with interest.
However, since Rishi and Heather had spent way too much time looking for a home and even commissioned an architect to work on it, they insisted on wanting to stay there. In an attempt to reach a happy compromise, Rishi requested Two Trees to have a loft built in the apartment, if they were not comfortable returning the money for the square footage that was missing.
This was a story that started back in 2007 and, four years hence, there still hasn’t been a decision one way or the other. The litigation has become intense, more so since the matter at hand is probably one of the most contentious of all in New York City real estate – measuring the size of home. What makes it even more exciting is that it is almost unheard of for such a case to go to trial.
Needless to say, the outcome of this particular legal battle holds great importance for a lot of people out there; not just Rishi Bhandari and his wife. If the verdict should be in their favor, several harassed homeowners are sure to seize this opportunity to get their back on deceptive developers. All eyes are now fixed on this couple – will Rishi and Heather be able to herald a new trend on the New York real estate scene? Well, that remains to be seen!